Weekly RoundUp (6/28-7/4)


About 2,000 healthcare workers are on strike in Cook County, Illinois. The workers are demanding better pay and affordable healthcare. They are also requesting temporary bonuses for the hazardous work they do as frontline workers during the pandemic. Amidst pride month celebrations all over the world, police in riot gear in Turkey, El Salvador, Panama, Mexico City, and Paris have been tear gassing marchers and blocking streets where pride marches are taking place. Nations including Bangladesh, South Africa, and Australia will all be entering lockdowns once again in response to surges in COVID-19 cases. Moscow and Saint Petersburg broke their records for their COVID-19 death tolls over the weekend. 


Temperature records have been shattered all over the Pacific Northwest due to the heatwave being fueled by climate change. Seattle reached 108 degrees F and Portland hit 116. The village of Lytton in British Columbia hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit which is the highest surface temperature ever recorded in Canada. Joined by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, hundreds of youth climate activists surrounded the Whitehouse to demand President Biden take more action towards the climate crisis. E-cigarette company Juul Labs has reached a $40 million settlement with the State of North Carolina in a landmark case on claims that the company’s marketing practices led to widespread addiction amongst teenagers. The FDA is considering whether they should still allow Juul products to remain on the market. 


As of Tuesday, June 29th, the state Senate of Rhode Island has passed two bills that would provide free pads and tampons to students from fifth grade through twelfth grade. Both the House and Senate versions of the bills will require that public schools have to provide period products for free at the beginning of the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. In recent years other states including New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, California, and Massachusetts have all passed similar bills that make access to period products free in schools. LGBTQ+ campaigners in Georgia have canceled their pride march as of Monday, June 28th, because of violent attacks in the surrounding area of Tbilisi. The “March of Dignity” was the target of violent attacks aimed at campaigners, journalists, and activists. Flags were torn down and the building was damaged at the office of Tbilisi Pride. Current Prime Minister,  Irakli Garibashvili said that he viewed the march as “not reasonable” and that “it risked causing public confrontation and that it was not acceptable”. Since the 2020 election 28 laws across 17 states have restricted ballot access. However, over half of these laws have made it harder to vote by mail and by absentee ballot. 


Allen Weisselberg surrendered to authorities early on Thursday morning. An indictment unsealed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged the company and an entity called Trump Payroll Corporation with 10 counts and Weisselberg with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged scheme stretching back to 2005 “to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books.'” The Trump Organization was charged with a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Attorney Gloria Allred who represents 33 of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault as well as Janice Baker-Kinney, one of the represented, spoke out about the court’s ruling of Cosby’s release. “He is not innocent, he will never be innocent, and I need to hold onto that. We (the 60+ women) that have come forward, all know the truth” says Baker-Kinney. “Now that he is a free man, he cannot reclaim or invoke his 5th Amendment privileges and decline to testify. We intend to ask him many many questions under oath which he will be compelled to answer because he can’t invoke his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination” says Allred. The death toll in Oregon reached 79 after 3 straight days of a record heatwave, British Columbia received reports of 486 sudden and unexpected deaths between Friday and Wednesday afternoon and Washington has linked more than 20 deaths to the heatwave. Weather experts say the number of heatwaves is only likely to rise in the Pacific Northwest, a region normally known for cool, rainy weather, with a few hot, sunny days mixed in, and where many people don’t have air conditioning.


A ruptured undersea pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico caused a fire in the middle of the ocean. The state-owned oil company reported that the incident took about five hours to get under control following a gas leak around 500 feet from a drilling platform. The company used boats to pump water over the fire and used partially nitrogen as well. Around 5 AM on Thursday, the home of Democratic Senator Vivian Davis Figures in Alabama was shot at. The police reported around 23 shots were fired into the house. Police spokesman Lt. Christopher Levy said it “does not appear to be a random act”. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Around 12 million American have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that previously reported a 66% efficacy rate against COVID-19. New studies show that the J&J vaccine is also quite effective against multiple variants, including the Delta variant. The Supreme Court has ruled that provisions in the Arizona voting law that restrict how ballots can be cast do not violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This means that restrictive voting laws passed by Republican-led states are more likely to withstand legal challenges


Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County has ordered that the remaining portion of the Surfside Condo that is still standing be demolished. The death toll thus far has reached 32 with more than a hundred still missing. The nation of Venezuela has begun administering its residents with the Cuban Abdala COVID-19 vaccine. Cuban researchers claim that the Abdala vaccine has demonstrated more than a 92% efficacy rate at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. The WHO urges caution since the data has not undergone a peer-review. Mississippi Congressmember Bennie Thompson has been appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to chair the House select committee that is investigating the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol building. Trump impeachment managers Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, and Jamie Raskin are among the six other democrats serving on the committee.


With concerns that the winds of the approaching Tropical Storm Elsa will blow down the remaining of the building, rescue teams are still working to recover and find people from the building collapse in Surfside, Florida, which fell on June 4th. Residents of Miami Beach mourned those who lost their lives by lighting candles on Sunday the 4th.  Dr. Anthony Fauci has advised people with complete COVID-19 vaccine dosages to still “wear a mask,” as the new COVID-19 variant Delta is easily transferable and 99% of current COVID-19 deaths come from the unvaccinated. Gas started leaking on Friday at an underwater pipeline west of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The fire was put out shortly afterward but slowly brought attention to the rising climate and the environmental status of the world. Temperatures have been record-breaking for the past month, including British Columbia, which had an all-time high of 121 degrees on June 29th. 

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